Sophonias iii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Dove. Jerusalem is upbraided, and then comforted. She had been treated like a spouse, a dove; and yet proved faithless. (Calmet) — Hebrew, “Woe to the famous, and defiled, and oppressing city.” Septuagint agree with us, if we only exchange famous for provoking. (Haydock) — After being redeemed from Egypt, the Jews ungratefully follow idols, Osee vii. 11. (Menochius) — Jerusalem having been freely chosen and favoured above other places, and still provoking God, cannot escape a severe chastisement. (Worthington)

Ver. 2. Lord. She had recourse rather to the princes of Assyria and of Egypt, which proved her ruin.

Ver. 3. Evening. Septuagint, “Arabian,” Habacuc i. 8. Such was the state of the kingdom before the reform of Josias. (Calmet)

Ver. 4. Senseless. Protestants, “light,” or (Haydock) windy and inconstant. There were too many false prophets (Calmet) during the minority of Josias. (Haydock)

Ver. 5. Morning. Speedily he will punish the guilty before all. — Shame. He is hardened. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “and not injustice for victory.” Grabe substitutes contention. God is just, (Haydock) even when he takes vengeance. (Calmet)

Ver. 6. Towers. Literally, “angles,” (Haydock) the chiefs, or to the very last, Job xxxviii. 6., and Zacharias x. 4. The nations have been punished for an example. But you do not take warning. (Calmet)

Ver. 7. But. Septuagint, “be prepared, rise early, all their grapes are corrupt.” (Haydock) — I had reason to expect an amendment, when so many nations had perished before their eyes. (Calmet) — They however sinned out of malice, and strove to provoke me in all their ways.

Ver. 8. To come. Septuagint, “for a witness.” (Haydock) — About forty years after Christ’s resurrection, the Jews for the most part continuing obstinate, Titus ruined their city; which is a figure of the world’s destruction, and of the eternal punishment of the wicked. (Worthington) — After the resurrection, the Church was to be gathered from all nations. Christ will rise again at the last day to judge all. God threatens his rebellious people with captivity, and then promises to shew mercy, ver. 9. Thus the prophets often subjoin promises to threats.

Ver. 9. Chosen. Symmachus, “pure.” (Calmet) — Idols shall not be mentioned. (Theodoret) — All people shall know and adore the Lord, which was verified only after Christ’s coming. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “for then I will change again for the peoples, language to its own kind,” (Haydock) which Origen, (contra Cels. viii.) and the Jews in St. Jerome, explain of the days of the Messias, when the confusion of Babel shall cease. But this is forced: it suffices that people unite in faith and obey the Church. — Shoulder, like people carrying a burden. Septuagint, “under one yoke.” After the captivity the Jews were more obedient and faithful, as the more corrupt remained behind the Euphrates, or were cut off in the last wars. Yet the synagogue was never so pure as the Christian Church, even in the worst times. (Calmet) — All nations shall worship God in unity of faith, and courageously submit to the gospel. (Worthington)

Ver. 10. Ethiopia. The Nile arises in that country, and runs through Egypt and Arabia, which is often styled Ethiopia or Cush, Isaias xviii. 1. The Jews came from Egypt to adore at Jerusalem, even after the building of Onion. Yet this literally regards Christ’s Church. — Offering. The Jews performed this after the captivity, coming or sending the half sicle to Jerusalem annually, from all quarters of the world, Numbers iii. 46., and Matthew xvii. 23. (Calmet)

Ver. 11. Doings. Literally, “inventions,” of religion of thy own choice. (Haydock) — Thy past offenses shall be obliterated, and thou shalt commit nothing of the kind any more. Those proud spirits who caused thee to dislike my law, and who set up idols in my temple shall disappear. — Mountain. The temple shall be destroyed, that all may know that I am attached to virtue alone, (Calmet) and not to any edifice or place. (Haydock) — They trusted too much to the temple, Jeremias vii. 4. (Menochius)

Ver. 12. Poor in spirit. (Haydock) — Hebrew, “meek and extenuated,” who trust not in themselves. This is the character of true Christians. The few Jews who remained in the country, or who returned from Babylon, might well represent them, being poor and dependent. The disciples of Christ contemned riches, and were resolute only where virtue was at stake. (Calmet) — They were instructed by poor fishermen taught by God. (Menochius)

Ver. 13. Israel. They shall be more submissive, and afraid of yielding to idolatry. Yet the synagogue was far from the perfection of primitive Christianity, or even from that of many pious souls in these days of relaxation. — Afraid. The Jews were not much molested till the time of Epiphanes, nor was the country ravaged as it had been, Micheas ii. 12. This peace is however of a spiritual nature, granted by Christ to those who fight against their passions, John xiv. 27. (Calmet) — They shall feed on the word of God and on the blessed Eucharist. (Menochius)

Ver. 15. Judgment, or “condemnation.” Septuagint, “iniquities,” (Calmet) nailing to the cross the handwriting that was against thee. (Haydock) — God does not treat thee with rigour. He will be thy king. The Jews had no king for a long time. But the true Israel, of whom the prophet speaks, is continually ruled and fed by Jesus Christ, who imparts his graces abundantly. (Calmet)

Ver. 17. Silent; constant. (Menochius) — He will accuse thee no more. Can this be understood of the Jews, who have been cast off till the fulness of the Gentiles enter the Church? [Romans xi. 25.] To the latter all this must be applied. Few prophets inveighed against the crimes of the captives after their return. (Calmet) — But this must be deemed a punishment, unless the crimes were also removed. (Haydock)

Ver. 18. Triflers. Literally, “trifles;” nugas. Hebrew nugi, (Haydock) which is almost Latin. (St. Jerome) — These vain nothings, (Calmet) men who were of light dispositions, scoffers at Christ, shall be converted and honour him. (Worthington) — Septuagint, 17. “he will renew thee in his love, and will exult over thee in joy, as on a festival day: (18) and I will bring back thy bruised ones. Woe to him that has reproached her.” Aquila likewise renders by woe, or eju, oh, oi, using it as an exclamation, though not of sorrow. Yet the term signifies, they were. (St. Jerome) (Haydock) — Hebrew literally, “I have gathered those who were in grief for a time. They were of thee. Shame was upon them like a heavy load;” or, “they were grieved on account of the festivals disused. They were like an offering rejected,” with disgrace. (Calmet) — They lamented that they could no longer observe the solemn festivals, and this was to the pious a most intolerable burden, while libertines seem to feel as great a misery in the observance.

Ver. 19. Cut. Septuagint, “do in thee, for thy sake at,” &c. (Haydock) — Halteth, and have no children, (Micheas iv. 7.) denoting the Gentiles. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “squeezed out,” like grapes, being in distress. (St. Jerome) — Where. Septuagint, “and they shall be ashamed at,” &c.

Ver. 20. Bring. Septuagint, “do good to you.” (Haydock) — Praise. All shall speak well of you who have been lately dishonoured, when I shall take both Gentiles and Jews for my spouse after the captivity, which seems present, (Calmet) it is so certain. (Haydock) — Captivity, under satan and sin. (Menochius)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

A wo to Jerusalem for her sins. A prophecy of the conversion of the Gentiles, and of the poor of Israel. God shall be with them. The Jews shall be converted at last.

1 Wo to the provoking and redeemed city, the dove.

2 She hath not hearkened to the voice, neither hath she received discipline: she hath not trusted in the Lord, she drew not near to her God.

3 *Her princes are in the midst of her as roaring lions: her judges are evening wolves, they left nothing for the morning.

4 Her prophets are senseless, men without faith: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have acted unjustly against the law.

5 The just Lord is in the midst thereof, he will not do iniquity: in the morning, in the morning he will bring his judgment to light, and it shall not be hid: but the wicked man hath not known shame.

6 I have destroyed the nations, and their towers are beaten down: I have made their ways desert, so that there is none that passeth by: their cities are desolate, there is not a man remaining, nor any inhabitant.

7 I said: Surely thou wilt fear me, thou wilt receive correction: and her dwelling shall not perish, for all things wherein I have visited her: but they rose early, and corrupted all their thoughts.

8 Wherefore expect me, saith the Lord, in the day of my resurrection that is to come, for my judgment is to assemble the Gentiles, and to gather the kingdoms: and to pour upon them my indignation, all my fierce anger: *for with the fire of my jealousy shall all the earth be devoured.

9 Because then I will restore to the people a chosen lip, that all may call upon the name of the Lord, and may serve him with one shoulder.

10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, shall my suppliants, the children of my dispersed people, bring me an offering.

11 In that day thou shalt not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee thy proud boasters, and thou shalt no more be lifted up because of my holy mountain.

12 And I will leave in the midst of thee a poor and needy people: and they shall hope in the name of the Lord.

13 The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies, nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed, and shall lie down, and there shall be none to make them afraid.

14 Give praise, O daughter of Sion: shout, O Israel: be glad, and rejoice with all thy heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.

15 The Lord hath taken away thy judgment, he hath turned away thy enemies: the king of Israel, the Lord, is in the midst of thee, thou shalt fear evil no more.

16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear not: to Sion, Let not thy hands be weakened.

17 The Lord, thy God, in the midst of thee is mighty, he will save: he will rejoice over thee with gladness, he will be silent in his love, he will be joyful over thee in praise.

18 The triflers that were departed from the law, I will gather together, because they were of thee: that thou mayest no more suffer reproach for them.

19 Behold, I will cut off all that have afflicted thee at that time: and I will save her that halteth, and will gather her that was cast out: and I will get them praise, and a name, in all the land where they had been put to confusion.

20 At that time, when I will bring you: and at the time that I will gather you: for I will give you a name, and praise among all the people of the earth, when I shall have brought back your captivity, before your eyes, saith the Lord.



3: Ezechiel xxii. 27.; Micheas iii. 11.

8: Sophonias i. 18.